One of the basic rules of marketing is to figure out who is your audience/customer. The next step is to draft a message to fit that audience. Once the message is defined, it’s a matter of putting in in the right places so the targeted audience will get it.
The next time you’re sitting in front of the television, reading the newspaper or listening to the radio, try to identify the target audience for the ads you see and hear. Ponder the demographic population that watches that particular show or sporting event, reads the newspaper, listens to that radio station and really think about the products that are being sold through advertisement. Learn from the experts.
If we know that the demographics of those who read a newspaper are ages 40-65, does it make sense to try to promote acne products there? If the station you listen to is primarily country, which ads make more senses, trucks or Prius?
Consider where you are marketing your agriculture program. Consider what you are marketing about your agriculture program. Most often I hear teachers bragging about the number of newspaper articles and pictures they have of their FFA members, in jackets, as their primary marketing tool. They have managed to secure a lot of support doing that. But, is that the only way to garner friends and fortune for our programs?
How do you market your program to:
The chamber of commerce?
Local civic organizations?
Students who are not in your program?
The message is virtually the same: Agricultural education is good for kids. But how do you draft that message to speak to those different audiences? The National Quality Program Standards indicate that you should have a formal marketing plan. Do you have a formal plan for addressing those audiences beyond putting pictures of FFA members winning a contest or cleaning up the side of the highway?
This issue of Making A Difference showcases teachers who have a plan. They’re sharing how they market the program to the community, to students outside the program for recruiting, and to administrators. Please share your ideas and practices for marketing the message of agricultural education to the masses at NAAE’s Communities of Practice Question for the Profession.